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Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that damage of your optic nerve. The optic nerve connects your eye with your brain. These signals become the images you see, and they are directional signals that tell your eye which way to look and where to focus. They even control involuntary signals like your automatic blinking.
The danger of glaucoma is that there are no warning signs or symptoms, which makes glaucoma the leading cause of irreversible blindness. When glaucoma does appear, it is usually too late to remedy and some vision loss has already occurred. Therefore, early detection is the best remedy, and this is achieved through regular and thorough eye exams.
You should have your eyes tested regularly for glaucoma. Doctors recommend patients under the age of 40 to have them checked every two to four years. From ages 40–54, you need a check-up every one to three years. From ages 55–64, you should get a test every year or two. If you’re over age 65, it’s recommended that you have your eyes tested for glaucoma every six to 12 months.
Glaucoma Test Procedure
A comprehensive glaucoma exam includes the five following tests:
- Tonometry measures your inner eye (intraocular) pressure (IOP). In a tonometry test, a technician or doctor uses a tonometer (a measuring device) to determine the inner pressure of your eye. The device or a warm puff of air applies a small amount of pressure to the eye and the push-back is measured to determine the pressure inside your eyeball. Normal eye pressure ranges between 12–22 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Most glaucoma patients have eye pressure above 20 mmHg; however, it’s possible to be in this normal range and still have glaucoma. Your eye pressure is unique to you.
- Ophthalmoscopy measures the color and shape of your optic nerve. The ophthalmoscopy test helps your doctor find glaucoma damage in your optic nerve. This is achieved by using eye drops to dilate your pupil, allowing your doctor to see through it to observe the shape and color of your optic nerve. Your eye doctor uses a device with a light on the end to magnify your optic nerve. If your IOP is not in the normal range or the examination of your optic nerve has abnormal results, your doctor may then ask you to undergo additional glaucoma exams such as a perimetry and gonioscopy.
- Perimetry is a field-of-vision test that creates a complete map of your visual field. This enables your doctor to determine if glaucoma is affecting your vision. In this test, your eye doctor has you look straight ahead and indicate when a passing light moves outside of your peripheral vision. This indicates the boundary of your field of vision. If there is a delay in the light moving through or around your blind spot, it’s perfectly normal, so don’t worry. Just do your best to relax and respond as accurately as you can for the test. Your doctor may ask you to return at a later date to repeat the test to see if the results are consistent with the earlier exam. Once glaucoma is diagnosed, visual field tests are conducted once or twice a year to check for any additional damage to your vision.
- Gonioscopy measures the angle of your eye between the iris and cornea. In a gonioscopy exam, your doctor determines whether this angle is wide and open or narrow and closed. To conduct this exam, your eye doctor places eye drops in your eye to numb it. Then a hand-held contact lens is gently placed on your eye. This special contact lens has a mirror that shows your doctor the angle between your iris and cornea and whether it’s blocked, closed, wide or open. A blocked angle is a possible sign of acute glaucoma and a wide open angle is a possible sign of chronic glaucoma.
- Pachymetry measures the thickness of your cornea. Pachymetry is an easy, painless test. Your doctor gently places a probe called a pachymeter in front of your cornea (the window of your eye) to measure its thickness. Corneal thickness can influence eye pressure readings, so the pachymetry exam can determine if this is a factor, enabling your doctor to have a better understanding of your eye pressure reading. The doctor can then develop a treatment plan that is right for your condition. The pachymetry test only takes about a minute to measure both eyes.
You may be wondering why there are so many tests just for glaucoma. The reason is that it’s not easy to diagnose glaucoma, and there are several varieties of the disease. A precise evaluation of the condition of your optic nerve is essential to glaucoma diagnosis and treatment.
Your sight is the most important concern. Doctors evaluate many factors before reaching a conclusion on how to treat your vision. If you have a condition that’s particularly difficult to diagnose, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in glaucoma treatment. It’s always a wise option to receive a second opinion when it comes to protecting your vision.
The type of glaucoma you have, as well as the severity of your disease, determines the kind of treatment you’ll receive. Glaucoma damage cannot be reversed — it is permanent. But surgery and medicine can help prevent further damage.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe medication in eye drop form, pill form or both. Glaucoma is most commonly treated by medicated eye drops. The medicine in the eye drops lowers your intraocular pressure by reducing the amount of fluid your eye creates or by helping the fluid drain from your eye through the drainage angle (between your iris and cornea).
Possible side effects from medicated eye drops include:
- Red eyes
- Changes in pulse and heartbeat
- Changes in energy levels
- Changes in breathing patterns
- Dry mouth
- Changes in eye color
- Eyelash growth
Surgery is also used to treat glaucoma. Laser trabeculplasty is the term for glaucoma laser surgery, a common and safe treatment for glaucoma.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult eye doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified eye doctor can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about Glaucoma Test in NYC? Would like to schedule an appointment with NYC Ophthalmology doctor or Top ranking Optometrist, Dr. Saba Khodadadian of Manhattan Eye Specialists, please contact our office for consultation with NYC glaucoma teat specialist, eye doctor.
Dr. Saba Khodadadian, Optometrist (NYC Eye Doctor)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 533-4821